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The Definition of Diet Therapy

By Janet Renee, MS, RD

Diet therapy is a method of eating prescribed by a physician to improve health. A number of conditions are treated in part with therapeutic diets. Treatments involve including foods that improve specific health conditions, while avoiding foods that may make the condition worse. Some health conditions require temporary therapeutic diets. Other times a therapeutic diet may become a permanent change necessary to keep the person healthy. Medical doctors or dietitians normally formulate therapeutic diets. The diet may change over time based on the person's response and improvement in health status.

Types of Therapeutic Diets

A gluten-free diet is an example of a dietary change that you must maintain to remain healthy. People with a gluten intolerance must avoid gluten-containing foods to prevent damage to their intestines. The diabetic diet is a very common therapeutic diet involving limiting high-sugar foods to help control blood sugar levels. Other therapeutic diets limit nutrients such as salt, to control blood pressure, or saturated fat, to manage cholesterol. These types of diets take some getting used to. You physician will work with you to gradually make the changes necessary.

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